FRI 13 - SUN 15 JULY 2018
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEKEND:
THEATRE: Swallows & Amazons, Oxford University Parks, until Sat 11 Aug
The marvellous Creation Theatre are at it again, bringing us imaginative theatre in every sort of location other than theatres. Originally performed in Bristol’s Old Vic, this adaptation of children’s classic Swallows & Amazons is being performed in Oxford University Parks. I’m sure Arthur Ransome would approve.
FESTIVAL: Henley, Oxon, until Sun 15 Jul
Put your Daisy Dukes away, this is a strictly black tie affair. Well, it is Henley, darlings. This massive five day bash is chocka with live music, contemporary arts, comedy (Paul Merton, Mark Watson, Rob Brydon, Lucy Watson), street theatre and food glorious food, with 12 restaurants and nine bars. Rita Ora, Grace Jones, Nile Rodgers and The English National Opera are among the headliners, plus there’s the massively popular Family Sunday. Renowned local chef Paul Clerehugh and his team from London Street Brasserie, Reading are running a pop-up in the Spiegeltent – and even more spiffing, mention Muddy Stilettos for a free flute of champagne. Never say we don’t look after you, dear readers! Family tickets start at a reasonable £35 but this only allows you to wander around the event and hear the concerts. To see the floating concert stage you need to buy lawn (from £55 to £110) or grandstand (undercover) tickets from £70 to £130.
MUSIC: The Skating Rink, Garsington Opera, Thurs 10 & 14 Jul
Calling all culture vultures, Garsington Opera continues with a gripping new work, written by leading British composer David Sawer with award-winning playwright Rory Mullarkey, and based on the novel by Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. Murder on the ice is the centre of this story of a beautiful skating champion and her obsessed admirer. There’s a pre-performance talk on Sun 8 Jul at 5pm, then crack open the champers and enjoy!
EVENT: Henley Garden Show, Stonor Park, Henley, Oxon, Fri 13 – Sun 15 Jul
Garden shows nowadays are so much more than displays of the best plants by the top producers around the country. The beautiful Stonor Park is the setting for an orgy of foliage, talks by experts, shopping, entertainment, food and drink. Be inspired and get those green fingers ready to transform your own patch back home.
SPORT: Swim by moonlight, Wycombe Rye Lido, Fri 13 Jul
Ahhhh! The deliciousness of a swim when it’s hot, hot, hot. Wycombe Rye Lido will once again be open for swimming under the stars until 10pm with hot choccies and marshmallows (any chance of a Pina colada instead?). Take a gander at our guide to splash parks and lidos for more outdoor swimming fun.
MUSIC: Cornbury Music Festival, Great Tew Park, Oxon, Fri 13 – Sun 15 Jul
There’s eclectic music across four stages, including Amy MacDonald, Squeeze, UB40, Alanis Morissette , plus top notch comedians like Katy Brand and Phil Wang at this civilised festival that prides itself on being quintessentially English. Think country fair with a rock’n’roll twist. Children’s workshops, a fairground, therapy zone and disco shed are the tip of the iceberg with roaming entertainers and a huge range of great food and drinks, including this year The Hairy Bikers’ Pop Up Wood Fired Restaurant Adventure. Pricing: from £180 (adults) to £30 (small children). Scenic campsites are dotted among the estate’s rolling hills.
THEATRE: Jersey Boys, Aylesbury Waterside, until Sat 14 July
The West End phenomenon hits Aylesbury Waterside and Muddy can’t wait. The story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons who came from the wrong side of New Jersey but rose to become one of the biggest bands on the planet has won a whopping 57 awards. The show’s packed full of hits like Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Working My Way Back To You, and Big Girls Don’t Cry plus, see that guy on the right of the photo? I’ve seen him in Legally Blonde and Dirty Dancing (just by chance, I’m not a stalker!) and he’s brilliant, so I can vouch for at least a quarter of the cast personally.
EVENT: Great British Garden Party, Blenheim, Sat 14 Jul
This sounds as eccentric as us Brits are meant to be. Celebrate all things British with famous characters amongst the grounds, such as Mary Poppins and James Bond, listen to the string quartet or watch a vintage cricket game with live commentary from Henry Blofeld (the mind boggles). They’ll be a BBQ, cream teas, strawberries, champers, Pimms and traditional ice cream (or bring a picnic) plus a firework finale with the words of Winston Churchill and a sing-along to Land of Hope and Glory. Grab your granny and the kids, it sounds positively spiffing, old girl.
THEATRE: Brave New World, Westgate Centre, Oxford, until Sat 11 Aug
Aldous Huxley with your H&M? You’ve finished your shopping, had a drink and dined on the roof terrace, but still don’t want to leave Westgate. How about a trip to the theatre? With the brand new shopping centre as the backdrop to Creation Theatre’s version of Auldous Huxley’s Brave New World, this vision of future consumerism is scary, pertinent and thought-provoking.
MUSIC: Candide, Opera Della Luna, Roxburgh Hall, Stowe, Sun 15 July
Opera della Luna returns to Stowe with a company of multi-talented singers, musicians and dancers to stage one of Voltaires’s most celebrated novellas. The Leonard Bernstein’s centennial recounts the tale of the naïve Candide as he sets off to explore the world, beset by an endless series of comedic disasters. The performance takes place in the Roxburgh Theatre and the beautiful grounds are open for picnics an hour and a half hour before the curtain raises.
EVENT: Emma Haig recital at Hartwell House, Aylesbury, Bucks, Sun 15 Jul
This is one for non-footie fans. As the World Cup Final kicks off, the renowned soprano Emily Haig, who recently performed at the FA Cup Final, will be serenading guests following afternoon tea with Prosecco and canapés to finish. The stunning luxury hotel has both Jacobean and Georgian facades and was residence to King Louis XVIII when he was exiled from France in 1809, doncha know.
ARTS & CULTURE: Family Museum, Libraries and Gardens Trawl, Oxford, all summer
Want to encourage your kids to visit all the great museums, libraries and gardens in Oxford this summer? If they’re of an age where stickers and prizes are enough to get them through the door then take part in this family campaign. Grab a passport from the information desk at The Ashmolean, Museum of Natural History, Pitt Rivers, Museum of the History of Science, Harcourt Arboretum, Bodleian Library or Botanic Garden and each time you visit get a sticker. Three stickers equals prizes equals happy kids equals smug parents.
MUSIC: Opera Anywhere at Waterperry Gardens, until Sun 15 Jul
For a less expensive operatic experience, the beautiful amphitheatre at Waterperry Gardens is the setting for Opera Anywhere’s offerings. The Magic Flute, Puccini’s Heroines, NMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and Patience are performed throughout the first half of July. Take a picnic and enjoy opera that’s accessible, fun and won’t break the bank.
DRINKIES: Ashmolean Museum Pop-up Bar, until Mon 30 July
Whoo-hoo! For 3 weeks only, you can bask in the sunshine in a deck chair on the gorgeous Ashmolean roof top lawn and enjoy a drink or two (or if you’re me, three) from the summer pop-up bar. No need to dine, just wine! Or try the new Ashmolean gin before wobbling down the stairs to America’s Cool Modernism exhibition (ends July 22).
EVENT: Big Camp, Cliveden, Berks, Fri 20 & 27 Jul
So popular that other dates have already sold out, camping in the beautiful Cliveden estate’s woods with marshmallow toasting and story-telling round the camp fire is a very civilised way to roll. Even wake up to a complimentary breakfast followed by a morning scavenger hunt. You’ll need to bring all your camping equipment and a picnic for supper (don’t forget the bottle opener).